The Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Office of Forensic Mental Health Services (OFMHS) sponsors a year-long fellowship in forensic psychology at Western State Hospital (WSH). The fellowship training program offers expertise in the area of forensic evaluation and assessment with emphasis on preparing applicants for independent practice and board certification in forensic psychology.
Forensic evaluators, and fellows under the direct supervision of a licensed psychologist, primarily provide pretrial evaluation services to inform local courts regarding a defendant’s capacity to proceed to trial and mental state evaluations. Additionally, forensic evaluators participate in the civil commitment process as well as post-adjudication assessments of violence risk for individuals adjudicated as Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. Our fellowship is approved as a qualifying program by the American Board of Forensic Psychology to offer a waiver of the 5-year experience requirement for forensic board certification applicants (approval period 2018-2023).
Clinical Fellowship, Psychology Fellowship
In addition to providing evaluations to individuals admitted to Western State Hospital, Fellows will also have an opportunity to participate in the Outpatient Services Program, which is dedicated to conducting forensic evaluations in jails and in the community. During the year, the psychology fellow will have the opportunity to provide supervised supervision of predoctoral interns from WSH’s APA accredited internship program and psychology pre-doctoral practicum students.
The forensic faculty teaches weekly 3-hour seminars over the academic year addressing the full range of psycho-legal topics. In addition, fellows are required to participate in a weekly psych-legal discussion group that reviews and discuses landmark cases. Fellows are also given the opportunity to gain direct experience observing, and possibly providing, testimony in criminal and civil court. Fellows have the opportunity to complete a research project or a scholarly work under faculty supervision during the year. The fellow may join an ongoing project or choose to begin a project in his/her area of interest. The goal of the didactic program and training experience is to prepare the fellow with the necessary knowledge to prepare for independent practice in forensic evaluation as well as ABPP certification, as desired. Our fellowship is approved as a qualifying program by the American Board of Forensic Psychology to offer a waiver of the 5-year experience requirement for forensic board certification applicants (approval period 2018-2023).
The majority of the adult forensic psychology fellow’s time will be spent in the Center for Forensic Services (CFS), which has specialized wards for forensic evaluation, competency restoration treatment, and the treatment of insanity acquittees. CFS is located at Western State Hospital (WSH), a roughly 800-bed psychiatric hospital serving the western half of Washington State located in wooded and attractive Steilacoom, Washington, in the South Puget Sound area. Steilacoom is located minutes from Tacoma, one hour from Seattle, two hours from Portland, Oregon, and four hours from Vancouver, B.C. The scenic Puget Sound and surrounding mountains offer unparalleled recreational opportunities.
The selected fellow is appointed to a 12-month position as a full-time employee with a salary of approximately $65,000 and benefits. Benefits include vacation leave, sick leave, educational leave, and medical/dental insurance as well as retirement investment options.
Funding for the positions is in the budget of the sponsoring institution but a guarantee is not possible until the governor has signed the requisite budget bill.
- Graduation from an APA accredited doctoral program in psychology is preferred.
- If the candidate has not received the degree at the time of application, s/he must supply letters from the director of his/her training program and dissertation chair (when applicable) attesting that the candidate is expected to receive the doctoral degree before the fellowship start date.
- Completion of an APA accredited pre-doctoral internship program is preferred, completion of an internship that meets APPIC standards is required.
- A letter from the director of the program attesting that the candidate is expected to complete his/her pre-doctoral internship before the start date is required.
Application packets submitted by mail, email, or on the APPA CAS system MUST include the following:
- Documentation that the above entrance requirements have been met.
- Statement of interest and career intent.
- Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies.
- Three letters of recommendation.
- Curriculum Vitae (CV).
- Sample of two (2) completed and sanitized psychological reports (forensic evaluations preferred).
Interested applicants may email or mail [email is preferred] their application materials directly to the Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee:
Jacqueline Means, Psy.D., Fellowship Director
Office of Forensic Mental Health Services
Western State Hospital
9601 Steilacoom Blvd. SW
Lakewood, WA, 98498
Although completed paper or emailed packets are preferable, the program will also accept applications through the APPIC centralized postdoctoral application system: APPA CAS (https://appicpostdoc.liaisoncas.com).
Letters of recommendation can be emailed or mailed directly from the letter writer or included in an envelope within a mailed application packet. Official transcripts should be sent directly from the academic institution.
Application materials must be received by December 31, 2020.